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Our company makes sure that our clients keep the same level of satisfaction after they start using the implemented CRM

Companies tend to concentrate on the implementation itself and not on what happens after that. However, in practice, the post implementation job is just as important. There is a good reason for that: companies are living organisms: they change by their own will or by adapting to the market, they grow or shrink and they have new, sometime unexpected, challenges. Therefore, the CRM should be a living organism as well, by adapting to the company that it serves. It doesn't mean that a company will implement a new CRM over and over again but it rather means that it will maintain in such a manner that the CRM does not remain behind while the business progresses.

There are some specific jobs that need to be taken into consideration when thinking about post-implementation:

  • Support, consisting of:
    • Functional Support (a.k.a. 1st level support)
    • Technical Support (a.k.a. 2nd level support)
  • Maintenance, consisting of:
    • Software Upgrades (what people usually understand through "maintenance")
    • Functional Upgrades (a.k.a. Enhancements)

Now, the Functional Support is actually someone (or a group of people) that is from within the company and knows how the CRM works from a business perspective. Functional Support is optional when there are a few number of users, supposing that everyone actually supports himself or the others. When there are more people using the CRM, it is best to have someone to assist them when they find themselves in difficult situations.

The Technical Support is actually someone that can look into unexpected (for Functional Support and standard usage) behavior of the application. This is called "technical", because it is usually someone that can troubleshoot problems by looking into the setup in a more in-depth manner. It can be someone from within the company or it may be outsourced (usually to the same company that did the implementation). The outsourcing of Technical Support is a good practice because it usually is more effective to have someone look into a problem only when it appears (and pay accordingly) instead of having someone paid to wait and see if something is wrong.

When it comes to Software Upgrades, it pretty much depends on whether the system is on-premise (that is the servers are at your location) or on-cloud. If on-premise (Siebel), the upgrade is a complex process, it requires a project-like approach and usually takes a while. On cloud (Salesforce), the Software Upgrade is simple and is performed by the software provider; there are only a few verification tasks after the actual upgrade to see that everything is working fine (in this case, few means close to nothing).

Functional Upgrades are different from everything else above and they actual consist of small enhancements that brings the CRM up-to-date with the company's practices and strategy. In some case whole new modules are introduced leading to a implementation-project-like approach. It very much depends how the business is changing and how the CRM should adapt to it and when.